France striker Olivier Giroud, who recently became France’s all-time top scorer with 52 goals after he scored against Poland in the Round Of 16 was presented with a flocked jersey emblazoned with the number 52 as a reminder of his remarkable feat.
He was given the jersey in the presence of the whole French team as well as support staff who cheered their approval as Giroud accepted the gift and wore it before saying a few words in French, a video shared by Equipe de France, the official Twitter handle of the French national team, showed.
Giroud, 36, had drawn level with Thierry Henry on 51 after netting a double in the defending champions’ 4-1 win over Australia in their opening Group D game. The AC Milan forward broke the record on his 117th appearance for France while Henry netted 51 times from 123 caps between 1997 and 2010.
It did not come easy for Giroud, who has rarely been considered a first choice for his country. He owes his place in the team in Qatar to Karim Benzema’s absence and will start again when the defending champions take on England in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
“This record reminds me of the years that have gone by, 11 years with France with a lot of good memories and some not so good,” Giroud had told a news conference on Tuesday.
“I think the most important is to show a good example to the young players, to show them that even if the path they’re on is not a straightforward path, they can do it.
“I wasn’t playing at the highest level at 20, so if it can serve as an example that anything is possible, it’s great. It shows that you can’t get everything right away, like the youngsters want now, that resilience and patience are key.”
Giroud made his debut in Ligue 1 with Montpellier at the age of 24 before winning his first cap for France a year later. After last year’s European Championship exit in the last 16 against Switzerland, Giroud was omitted by coach Didier Deschamps until March.